El Pantera: Second Season Starts Tonight

Well, that was fast. Regular readers might remember El Pantera, the Mexican action series I worked on, running the writers’ room and overseeing story development for the second season for a while.

Univision is already starting to run those episodes, starting tonight at 9 pm Eastern, 8 pm Central. Check it out!

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While I knew the second season had begun airing in Mexico (to very nice ratings, I’m told), I didn’t think it would be here for a few more months. But I just caught a promo while flipping through channels. It looks great. I haven’t seen the actual episodes yet myself. But now I totally can’t wait.

If you don’t habla the español, you may not even need to. This is a profoundly Mexican show, but the episodes should be visual enough and actiony enough that you’d probably follow the rough outline of the story even with the volume down.

Just from seeing the promo, I’m already happy for and proud of the folks I worked with for turning our string of ideas on an office whiteboard into what look to be very cool episodes. It looks like they did a terrific job.

¡Felicidades otra vez a todos de los gentes creativos y talentos de El Pantera!

In Which My Startling Lack of Insight Proves Disappointing

Last Saturday night, I was walking home from late drinks with friends when I heard a loud metallic BANG about thirty or forty feet to my left.

I looked up, and two cars had collided, apparently at fairly high speed. And the vector product of their interaction sent them in a new direction: directly at me.


You don’t see cars coming right at you in the middle of the sidewalk very often. This was like one of those movie moments when a character looks up and sees a large, moving, out-of-place object — a falling building, a crashing plane, a strangely airborne car, etc. — that is about to suddenly kill him.

Two tons of metal were hurtling directly at my thighs. I’d have maybe half a second to do something about it.

Mostly, I said the word “shit” over and over. Also, I ran like hell. All I could come up with.

Fortunately, since the cars were also still braking and rotating, the one barreling most perilously at me slowed rapidly as its tires became perpendicular to the direction of travel, and I probably could have just stood there like an idiot (instead of running like one) and escaped. False alarm. No actual danger. (For me, anyway. One of the drivers seemed pretty hurt, although he refused medical assistance. The other driver is probably in pretty big trouble; she fled the scene, but a passing paparazzi — the same guy who got beat up on a Malibu beach recently, in fact — happened to see the accident and scribble down the license number.)

Still, for all of one second, I had pretty good reason to wonder if my number was up.

In the movies, that’s the sort of thing that gets people to reevaluate their lives, maybe improve their relationships or pursue their life’s dream or stop drinking or, hell, I dunno, join a gym or get that nifty sex change or at least form a freakin’ 4-H club or something. So for the last two days, I’ve been kind of waiting for my big insight or important life-changing decision.

Come on, insight! Here I am! Ready and waiting!

But so far… nothing. Nada.

It appears, shockingly, that running away from a large noise may have granted me no special knowledge.

What a ripoff. Makes it seem hardly worth almost getting killed in the first place.

I wonder if this is because (a) deep down, I truly believe my life choices are all very good, (b) I don’t, but I have no real interest in happiness whatsoever, or (c) something important is still brewing that I haven’t yet noticed.

All of these seem unlikely.

So, great: I don’t even have any insight about my own lack of insight. Well, crap.

Of course, if this sort of thing ever worked, Evel Knievel would have been the wisest man alive.

Man, Evel Knievel would have been like an oracle. With, like, robes, and a big throne, and people would have come to him with their problems, and Evel would have been all Obi-Wan, stroking his chin and gesturing somberly with his scepter, and then doling out advice in little aphorisms whose meanings would slowly unfold as the listener would contemplate and grow.

And then he’d, like, go jump over some sharks in a minibus. And then he’d come back and be even wiser.

But he didn’t. That is also disappointing.

Bottom line: if I’ve gained any larger awareness of the world to share from the experience, it is only this: all of us, brothers and sisters, everywhere on this green earth, should try, every day and in every way, not to get mashed by a Lexus.

This is my advice to you.

McCain Applied for Marriage License with Cindy while Still Married to Carol

Today’s Los Angeles Times contrasts McCain’s claims on how he dumped his injured first wife, the one who was faithful to him the whole time he was in Vietnam, for millionaire booze heiress Cindy Hensley, finding pretty sleazy behavior right in the public record:

McCain, who is about to become the GOP nominee, has made several statements about how he divorced Carol and married Hensley that conflict with the public record.

In his 2002 memoir, Worth the Fighting For, McCain wrote that he had separated from Carol before he began dating Hensley.


An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year — or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

You apply for a wedding license to a millionaire blonde while still married to the mother of your children, and then write a memoir that out-and-out lies about it?

More straight talk from a true maverick.

While we’re at it, more of McCain’s strange version of straight talk can be viewed here (where he literally squirms with discomfort while dodging simple questions about birth control), here, here, here, here, here, and (in a couple of nice roundups, because I don’t have all day) here and here.

Word Panic

The sports section of this morning’s L.A. Times reports that the content filters at a "Christian" website had a wee problem in reporting how a sprinter named Tyson Gay performed at the U.S. Olympic trials:

"Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has. . . . Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing."

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."

Genius. Apparently they still don’t like the word "gay" as slang for "homosexual" (their preferred word), since this is unfair to… um… words.

Fair enough — which is why I’ve placed "Christian" in quotes here.

There’s not one word in the Gospels criticizing homosexuality. Not one. There are two bits in the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) predating Christ by a few gazillion years, right where eating shellfish is condemned just as harshly. If these "Christians" really cared about their own holy book, they’d also be protesting outside of Red Lobster.

Complicating things, the original Hebrew in Leviticus 18:22 is unclear. There’s nothing close to an agreed-upon translation, and for anyone to proclaim that they know exactly what the words mean (not even to mention postulating them as the unquestionable word of a deity) is simply dishonest.

On the other hand, Leviticus 25:44-46 heartily endorses slavery, in terms way less ambiguous than other stuff. And Exodus 21:20-21 explicitly says it’s OK to beat the crap out of your slaves so badly they can’t work for a couple of days, as long as you don’t kill them.